Tribune Trumped? Q3 Miss, Lower Guidance Set


Another media company is blaming a disappointing election-season ad spend for a shortfall in its originally anticipated earnings.

Tribune Media saw its diluted earnings per share grow from 28 cents to 48 cents in Q3, based on a net income rise from $27.9 million to $145.8 million.

However, the consensus estimate of analysts was 51 cents.

At the same time, Q3 revenue growth from $488.6 million to $518.1 million missed the analyst consensus estimate of $547.9 million.

Much of the blame can be pinpointed to a quarterly net income tax expense of $66.4 million, up from $11.3 million.

On a positive note are improvements in the Television and Entertainment segment. Breaking out the Tribune division, advertising grew in the just-completed quarter, from $319.5 million to $329.3 million.

Also up in the division are retransmission consent fees, from $69.9 million to $78.7 million; and carriage fees, from $19.5 million to $29 million.

But, operating profit for Television and Entertainment fell from $64.1 million to $46.2 million. One key reason: Broadcast rights payments, which ballooned from $108.5 million to $123.6 million.

In its Digital and Data division, there was a wider operating loss, from $6.2 million to $11.6 million.

“Our financial results in the third quarter demonstrate the strength and resiliency of our media operations,” said President/CEO Peter Liguori. “Our results would have been even better but for the Trump campaign’s substantially lower-than-expected spend on television advertising and the fact that our station portfolio does not benefit from Olympic advertising, because we have only two relatively small NBC affiliates.”

Given the challenging political ad climate, Tribune lowered its FY2016 guidance and now expects revenue to fall between $2.147 billion and $2.179 billion. This is shy of the analyst consensus estimate of $2.23 billion.